Recently, a number of patients have discussed with me their decision to change their current health insurer. They tell me they want something “better than what they have” but are unsure where to start to research a new private health insurance fund.
It seems to be a fairly complex and confusing field, so I thought I’d try to explain some relevant issues as I see them.
So really, which Health Fund?
There are almost 40 different health funds nationwide. This is more than most people realise. Generally, we only hear about the funds with the bigger budgets for advertising (or other marketing sponsorships), or health funds with prominent flagship shopfronts.
Some funds are open to everyone; some are industry-specific. Here's a list of Private Health Funds put together by the Australian Government.
Some funds are mutual funds, where membership fees (and profits) are reinvested into the fund for the benefit of members.
Other funds are “for profit”: funds that use the health industry as a vehicle to deliver profit to shareholders. Some funds are Australian-owned, others aren’t.
For further information, visit the Australian Government's Private Health website.
Next post, I’ll try to explain better the difference between HOSPITAL and EXTRAS cover and who would need them. And finally, we’ll drill down to the nitty gritty of choosing between the different funds.
Until then, keep on flossing.